Автор: Oleg Ushakov, Moscow
In memory of Alexey Bolotov
I crossed paths with alpinism once in 2007 for a short period. But I didn’t need much time to get into the spirit of the alpinists, take in their viewpoint, inner freedom. I fell in love with that all. Now I am only the outside observer, as the expedition to K2 was my first and last, or as my friends-alpinists say – “limiting”, it is not so important for me now. My soul has been partly occupied and I am happy this way.
I am writing because I would like to share my thoughts about our friend with you. I’d like to share with those who knew him well and those who didn’t know him at all. Because Leha was the special, outstanding person. Such people deserve to be remembered and spoken about.
He was a personality! Strong character, competitive spirit and fearlessness sometimes crossing with recklessness! He was the one who would hunt his own line till the end and it did not matter who he was communicating with.
It was impossible to impose your will on him. He could win, he could lose, that all face to face with you without any compromise. He went to the mat, he never gave way. To the mat…
I remember asking him to teach me climbing with the ice axes. It was, perhaps, the second month of the expedition. The four guys of the “Ural” team had rest after a difficult climbing. Every departure used to be more and more difficult as it was farther and father. He didn’t mind and took me with him! We found a huge crack, 30-40 meters deep. It seemed so. Leha drilled everything in some seconds – the basis, piton belay, hung the rope. He showed me something and before I managed to say anything he jumped into the crack. He wanted to check it. That’s just like him. He was always fast with everything. He got out, fixed my piton belay, gave me the ice-axes:
That’s just like him. Everything was always easy for him. It took me long to get out. Everything started when my musculus gastrocnemius and forearms were almost blown.
- -Put on the crampons. Get down.
- - Get down? How? What should I do?
- - You’ll understand. It’s easy. There are three footholds. Two legs – one hand. Two hands – one leg.
I thanked him very soon. It was a great pleasure for me to come up, hanging loosely, biting and striking the ice. After a short rest of 10-15 minutes I asked him to repeat. I liked it…
You know about his sporting achievements well. But I don’t want to speak about it. I don’t want to recollect his golden axes, etc.
Do you know, why? Because it wasn’t his purpose. Not exactly this way. Perhaps his rewards were important for him as a part of success and everyone’s acknowledgement. But he wasn’t vain. He didn’t get pleasure from rewards. He liked the process, every day, every event, action - be it going out like visiting the bath-house, singing to a guitar in a base camp, taking the tent to a new place or just an interesting talk. And, he especially liked the process of climbing. He loved life in every way. It seemed he gave himself up to what he liked, as it is in the song by “Mashina Vremeni” – “The fire”.
He couldn’t stay in one place. It seemed he was a rebel. It was a good trait, perfectly matching him to his friend Gesha Kirievskiy, a reasonable and balanced person. One more thing. Leha always wanted to be the first. It was his implacable spirit of a leader and winner. He dealt with the most difficult things. The rest was not interesting. New mounts. New tasks. New challenges. Tasks – Solutions – Overcoming himself.
It is very important to find your place in life and be sure you’re doing the right thing. Percentage of such people is small, even among the happy, healthy, wealthy and successful people. As far as I knew Lesha Bolotov he didn’t have any doubts. He was an alpinist. He knew it was his mission. He was happy in what he did. He felt comfortable in the mountains. It was his environment.
Let Sveta, her children, relatives and friends accept my condolences.
Bright. Emotional. Hot. Brave. An interesting person and experienced climber. Leha! This is how I remember you.
- - Leha. I can’t do it. Take me out.
- - What do you mean? – “take me out” – Do it yourself”
- - I can’t. I am tired.
- -Everyone is tired. I won’t take you out. Come up yourself.
Oleg Ushakov 15.05.2013